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Original Message:   My 2 cents worth
Let me put in my opinion on these as well.

From the overall look and style, I think that most of these beads were made in Venice, but with a very specific culture in mind as customers. The style, colors, shape, application of details, use of twisted cane and such can all be found on Venetian made beads for both the European and African market. Am I 100% sure? No.

There are some that have quite different colors or shapes that look like they were not made in Venice, but may be made in China or elsewhere in Asia. There are a handful that look like they could be modern copies, but my general idea is that the group as such is older than the more recent Indonesian made beads.

It might be good to consider the way glass beads like this are made. Although there were larger companies (especially in Venice) behind the export of beads and the production of glass, the production of beads is often small scale. It could quite easily be that a small workshop specialized in a certain type of beads, that never made it anywhere but in this case Borneo. Especially lampwork beads: they are all made individually. No molds, no machines, it is all just a person at a torch making them. This also means there is not one level of finesse, or one type of quality that you can attribute to Venice. It comes down to the individual maker and perhaps the quality control of the company.

I have been to the Czech Republic quite a few times, and I think I have a pretty good grasp on which beads were made there. However, so many beads that end up in the trade, never show up in the Czech Republic itself. Not in the museum, not in antique shops, not in old stock. Still, they are typical Czech beads which I can tell from the type of glass used and the production method. It strengthens my idea that certain beads were made very specifically for export, and never circulated anywhere else.

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